House passes landmark gun legislation, sending it to Biden to sign into law

WASHINGTON — The House passed the most sweeping legislation designed to prevent gun violence in nearly 30 years on Friday, sending the bill to President Joe Biden’s desk to be signed into law.

The bill passed the House 234-193 Friday afternoon, with 14 Republicans voting with all Democrats to support it. Members who supported the bill cheered and applauded in the chamber as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announced that it had passed.

The bipartisan gun legislation, written in response to the shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, flew through a usually slow-moving Congress. After the bill passed the Senate Thursday night, 65-33, Pelosi applauded the “strong bipartisan vote” and said the House would immediately vote on the bill before lawmakers leave Washington for a two-week recess marking July Fourth.

“Every day, gun violence steals lives and scars communities — and this crisis demands urgent action,” she said in a statement. “While we must do more, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act is a step forward that will help protect our children and save lives.”

The bill would provide grants to states for “red flag” laws, enhance background checks to include juvenile records, and close the “boyfriend loophole” by keeping guns away from nonspouse dating partners convicted of abuse.

Although a majority of House Republicans voted no Friday, just over a dozen moderate members broke with their party to support the legislation.

Rep. Tony Gonzales, a Republican who represents Uvalde, Texas, announced in advance that he would vote for the bill. It was crafted after the mass shooting in his district last month in which 19 children and two teachers were killed, and another in Buffalo, New York, that killed 10 people.

House GOP leaders, meanwhile, voiced opposition to the bill, denounced by the National Rifle Association, and pushed members of their conference to vote against it.

“This legislation takes the wrong approach in attempting to curb violent crimes,” House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., wrote in a notice to GOP members. “House Republicans are committed to identifying and solving the root causes of violent crimes, but doing so must not infringe upon” Second Amendment rights.

Meanwhile, Biden, who actively called on Congress to take action to address gun violence, said Thursday he was looking forward to signing the bill into law.

“I am glad to see Congress has moved significantly closer to finally doing something — passing bipartisan legislation that will help protect Americans,” he said in a statement. “Our kids in schools and our communities will be safer because of this legislation. I call on Congress to finish the job and get this bill to my desk.”

Sarah Mimms contributed.

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